“Yosemite Samantha” Is Going To Washington (For Now)

Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert (center).

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s veteran political reporter Charles Ashby reports, Republican Rep.-elect Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert did the thing every winning candidate has to do–run up the score in your strongholds (with one notable exception, see below), and don’t lose too badly in the places you’re going to lose:

Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush didn’t pull in as many votes as she was expected to in many of the left-leaning counties in the expansive 3rd Congressional District…

Boebert, who ended up winning the seat in Tuesday’s election by about 5.5 percentage points, did as expected in such heavily right-leaning counties as Mesa and Delta. She also amassed impressive numbers in such left-leaning ones as Alamosa, Conejos and Huerfano, where there are more registered Democrats than Republicans.

But while Boebert lost her home county of Garfield by more than 6%, she only lost the dominantly Democratic Pueblo County by 2.5%.

Although Lauren Boebert underperformed overall in the general election compared to her ousted predecessor Rep. Scott Tipton, the deep red areas of this rural and mountainous district came out solidly in the end–and in the Democratic stronghold of the district in Pueblo, another tepid showing for Democrats in general failed to provide Democratic candidate Diane Mitsch Bush the boost she needed in this nominal Democratic stronghold. It’s very interesting to note the big margin by which Boebert lost her home Garfield County, however–as the location of most of Boebert’s bad press prior to her run for Congress, it’s a telling reminder that those who know Boebert like her least.

Rep.-elect Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (center).

Some of the failure to take full advantage of the opportunity Boebert’s unexpected primary win over Tipton, who had held the seat with sufficient ease in prior elections that it would not have been nearly as contested by Democrats in 2020, does lie with Mitsch Bush. Trying again in 2020 after losing in the Democratic wave 2018 elections, Mitsch Bush received a massive infusion of support after Boebert won that doesn’t appear to have helped her much. For one thing, that spending was countered at every step by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and independent groups supporting Boebert, compensating for Boebert’s own inability to compete in fundraising on her own. While both sides spent heavily on the air, Boebert’s relentless in-person campaigning in open defiance of COVID-19 health orders, like in Republican races across the state and nation, does appear to have given her an advantage over Mitsch Bush’s low-energy but safe “all virtual” campaign.

So what happens next? Well, Lauren Boebert goes to Congress for at least one two-year term, where she faces an extremely steep learning curve. We suggest starting with the word “compact,” which as the Grand Junction Sentinel humorously explained means different things depending on the context. One of the things we’ll be watching to see is who she hires in terms of top staff–either taking cues from Washington Republicans and bringing in qualified people, or elevating the local fringy “semi-pros” who ran her campaign. One of the principal knocks on Boebert during the campaign was her almost complete vacuum of policy depth or agenda, so it’s fair to say that her chief of staff will exercise a very large degree of influence.

In the fairly likely event that Boebert fails to distinguish herself in this first term, we do believe she will face a primary challenge from “establishment” Republicans in 2022. The longtime political consultant who ran Tipton’s campaign and failed to anticipate Boebert’s primary victory, Michael Fortney, was hugely embarrassed by the result along with Tipton himself. Democrats will be watching Boebert closely for weakness to exploit, but so will local Republicans ready to oust her from this seat if she stumbles in any way. Depending on what happens to the map of CD-3 during the upcoming redistricting process, either side or both sides could be gunning (pun intended) for Boebert in two years.

The one thing we can say for sure is the AOC Jello wrestling match is never going to happen. Sorry, boys.

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. gertie97 says:

    It was a winnable seat. DMB blew it.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Winning the seat would involve off-setting a 30,000 Republican edge in registrations and voters in this election. And gathering that margin among the Unaffiliated's 160,605 voters or  198,555 active registrations would be tough. 

      A glance at Ballotpedia says Dems lost the seat in 2010, with almost the entire amount of the 80,000 lower midterm vote in a Democratic rout year coming from John Salazar's total votes.  Since then, the margin has been at least 20,000 votes.  So I'm curious — what sort of candidate and campaign would be needed to make the district competitive?

      • ParkHill says:

        "30,000 Republican edge in registrations"

        That about says it all. 2020 was a turnout election, not a persuasion election. In a nationalized, hyper-partisan environment, Republicans vote Republican, Democrats not Democrat, and low-information voters pay zero attention to policy discussions.

    • The realist says:

      I, too, believe it was winnable for the Dems but that might have been wishful thinking. I'd love some really thorough analysis on this race, maybe including some voter focus groups or SOME way to determine what the key barriers were. I did some phonebanking into the district as did hundreds (thousands?) of other people. I really don't have any insight to offer from the few live conversations I had. But I do know this – Republicans almost always (news stories to the contrary) vote for Republicans REGARDLESS, and I believe many of the unaffiliateds in CD3 lean (or more than lean) Republican. 

      • Duke Cox says:

        Think “cowboy”, realist. Your last point is dead on. Most Unaffiliateds around here are way to the right of most Republicans. Calamity Jane is just such a delight to them.

        In one of Boeberts’ commercials she claims, ” Nancy Pelosi and AOC don’t give a rip about our farmers, ranchers, and energy workers.” Obviously, this is the only employment demographic that matters to her. It is the demographic that wants to send a cowboy to Washington, and we keep offering them professors,politicians, and other small professional people who don’t remind them of John Wayne. 

        I did not make the majority of people in western Colorado into racists, misogynists, greedy knuckleheads, gunnies,or whatever malfunction makes them support Troembert, but if you give them a tall, white guy with an empty head and a pair of Justins, they will usually elect him. Can you say, Ray Scott?

  2. Early Worm says:

    Congratulations to Doug Lamborn, who is no longer the stupidest member of Colorado's Congressional delegation, and to Ken Buck, who is no longer the craziest member. It's like when I am in a long, slow-moving line. I like it when someone gets in line behind me so that I am no longer last in line. 

  3. 2Jung2Die says:

    I assume the writer Ashby was saving words by just calling Pueblo County "dominantly Democratic," but there's a big difference between the city of Pueblo and much of the rest of the county. It gets as red as anywhere in some parts. Bri Buentello just lost there, not just in her House District 47 but also in the Pueblo County portion. I said early on that DMB wasn't going to win the 3rd on the strength of Pueblo alone, and it's on the record somewhere on this site…

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    It also doesn’t hurt her that most of her photos are basically soft-core porn. With guns!

  5. Golden Girl says:

    Even Fox might find Lauren Republican light!

    • Duke Cox says:

      This is such an embarrassment. And if she were the only one, it wouldn't be so scary, but…she is going to be part of a like-minded caucus.

      I think there are a few others in the Qanon caucus.

  6. JohnInDenver says:

    There are, of course, other winners: Marjorie Taylor Greene from GA. North Carolina's Madison Cawthorn associates with a variety of fringe groups, including QAnon, but I don't know if he specifically endorses their positions. 

    Not sure who else.

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